This article examines the relevance of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as a precedent for safeguarding the legal existence of Low-Lying Island States threatened by climate change and the rise in sea levels. The unprecedented nature of this phenomenon means international law offers no unequivocal guidance on the way forward for threatened States. As a result, most solutions to this problem rely either on the creation of new legal instruments, the reinterpretation of existing norms, or (to varying extents) on the goodwill of other States. However, due to its State-like characteristics, and existence independent from a territorial claim, non-State sovereign entities of international law such as the Sovereign Order of Malta could provide an interesting blueprint for a Low-Lying Island State to transit to-wards once the indicia of statehood becomes vulnerable to possible challenges. The core of the Sovereign Order of Malta’s sovereignty is discussed and outlined, fol-lowed by a survey of the relevance and added value of this option for threatened low-lying island States.
- International Legal Personality
- International Law
- Sovereign Military Order of Malta
- Holy See
- Climate Change
- Sea level rise
- low-lying island states